This article critically examines the evidence for interpersonal complementarity according to the theories of and , , and . The only prediction found to be regularly supported is that friendly-dominant and friendly-submissive behaviors are complementary. A repeated finding, not predicted by any theory, is that hostile-dominant acts are frequently responded to with further hostile-dominant behavior. There is also evidence that hostile-submissive behavior is frequently met with friendly-dominance. Conceptual and methodological problems with this research are discussed. The theory of interpersonal complementarity based on the idea of a shared definition of the encounter needs to be modified to take greater account of the factor of defense of status. Theory and research should also accommodate the influence of setting, status difference, and time in relationship, as well as cognitive and emotional processes that intervene between antecedent and consequent acts.
Psychological Review – PsycARTICLES®
Published: Jul 1, 1986
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